As you are all aware we have spent a significant amount of time watching Global Warming. We first produced a paper in 1997 titled Global Warming and Bible Prophecy (No. 218). We interviewed a number of scientists with what were new levels of knowledge for the time and some new ideas for determining the speed of melt.
At that time our comments were considered much too radical and perhaps unbalanced. Now it seems we were somewhat conservative, and the scientists’ “estimates” were far too conservative, and the time frames given then are now completely dismissed.
There is a new study to be detailed in the journal Geophysical Research Letters using satellite images of the Helheim Glacier of Greenland.
In a report, Robert Roy Britt, editor of Live Science Magazine at LiveScience.com of 17 November reported that:
“A new study reveals one of the largest glaciers in Greenland is shrinking and speeding to the sea faster than scientists expected. If it continues, Greenland itself could become much smaller during this century and global seas could rise as much as 3 feet.”
“The rates of change that we're observing are much higher than expected," said Ian M. Howat of the University of California, Santa Cruz. "If these rates of response continue, it is not unlikely that Greenland could shrink by several tens of percent this century."
Howat cautions, however, that it's not known how quickly this coastal response of the Greenland ice sheet melting will affect the vast inland ice.
"The ice sheet becomes less sensitive to climate as it retreats," Howat told LiveScience. "It sort of flies off the handle at first and then re-adjusts, so it is extremely unlikely that all of the ice sheet will disappear."
Under the heading “Fast retreat” the report then went on to say:
“Greenland is the world's largest island, covering an area more than three times the size of Texas. Some 81 percent of it is permanently capped by ice, and there are many glaciers.
Glaciers are like slow-moving rivers of ice. Where a glacier meets the sea, its weight keeps it firmly resting on the bottom. A glacier's front is the point where the water is deep enough that the glacier floats. It becomes brittle and crumbles into icebergs, which ultimately melt.”
The new study, to be detailed in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, used satellite images of the Helheim glacier. The report noted that the rate of change is speeding rapidly:
“Since the 1970s, the front of Helheim stayed in the same
place. Then it began retreating
rapidly, moving back 4.5 miles from 2001 through this past summer. It has
also grown thinner, from top to bottom, by more than 130 feet since 2001. And
over these past four years, its trek to the sea has sped up from about 70 feet
per day to nearly 110.
"This is a very fast glacier, and it's likely to get faster," Howat said.
“As the glacier's front retreats, it’s like a dam has been removed, and the inland portion can move more swiftly. The process has been seen in Antarctica by other researchers. A similar runaway effect has struck Greenland's Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier.”
If the Helheim glacier thins beyond a critical point, it would simply float and rapidly disintegrate. In fact, the changes seen since 2001 were probably underway long before then but just not noticed. "Glaciers may have been thinning for over a decade," Howat said. "But it's only in the last few years that thinning reached a critical point and began drastically changing the glacier's dynamics."
The speed is noted as increasing from 70 feet per day to 110 feet per day. The report notes the increase in Greenland temperatures as exceeding five degrees Fahrenheit or three degrees Celsius in a decade. The relative increase in temperature over the next decade will obviously result in a greater melting and at an exponential rate. Note that the situation is also noted as occurring in Antarctica. We thus might well expect the rise to be more than double that expected from this report as it only really concerns the impact of Greenland’s melt. The report says under the heading “Moving inland” that:
“The melting is driven by a warmer climate. Temperatures in Greenland have risen more than five degrees Fahrenheit (three degrees Celsius) in the last decade.
Helheim's speedup has been noted 12.5 miles up the glacier. The center of the Greenland ice sheet is 150 miles inland. The ultimate outcome depends on how far inland the speed-up occurs.
"Current models treat the ice sheet like it's just an
ice cube sitting up there melting, and we're finding it's not that simple,"
Since most of Greenland's ice is on land, seas will rise as the ice melts. Predicting the extent of the rise is tricky, however. If Greenland's entire ice sheet melted, oceans would be 15-20 feet higher. Nobody expects that to happen anytime soon.
Relatively conservative estimates from climate models suggest Greenland alone could contribute about 4 inches of sea-level rise in the 21st Century, said Howat's colleague Slawek Tulaczyk. Other recent models put the figure at up to 3 feet.
“Much of the near-future glaciologic work in Greenland will be focused on refining this estimate," Tulaczyk said.
Thus, we are looking at something between four inches and three feet for Greenland alone this century. When Greenland was more habitable at the beginning of the second millennium of the Current Era the ice sheet was lower and seas were seven feet higher. We can be confident that those levels will be regained and well exceeded in a very short period of time.
We have already seen some 15 inches or so in water level rise in recent times and it is accelerating very fast. It is more than likely that the rises of the last decade will be more than doubled this decade. We could see as much as another two and a half feet by 2010. Bear in mind that we have seen revisions upwards on a monthly basis now for eight years. The speed of the freeze at the beginning of the tenth century accelerated and was almost at a seven feet drop on world sea levels by mid eleventh century. This reversal is a greater warming effect and the rises will be faster and the effects more dramatic. It has been underway for twenty years and thus the effects are now becoming exponential.
We can thus legitimately expect a rise of nearly three feet by as early as 2010. If that happens, then the pressure will be on for mass resettlement.
That will increase the move to war.
We should be concerned with how we relate to God and how we perform in the faith to enable us to participate in the new administration of the coming Kingdom of God.
One of the things we seem to see or learn is that we learn nothing from history.
How will we cope with the coming changes? That question is on all lips. Trust in God and stand in awe.
Love one another.
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